Detroit Lions defense, passing attack keep wildcard hopes alive

Lions host Vikings in week 14

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 04: D'Andre Swift #32 of the Detroit Lions celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the third quarter at Ford Field on December 04, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) (Nic Antaya, 2022 Getty Images)

DETROIT – Defense and offensive weaponry proved to be too much for the Jacksonville Jaguars as the Detroit Lions had a convincing 40-14 victory, improving to 5-7 on the season, and are now just two games back in the loss column for the seventh and playoff spot.

Defense

The youthful Lions’ defense got after Trevor Lawerence and the Jags’ offense early and often as he finished the game, completing 17-31 for 179 and one passing touchdown.

Safety DeShon Elliott literally got the ball rolling to open the game as he forced a fumble from running back Travis Etienne. Linebacker Alex Anzalone recovered the ball, allowing the Lions’ offense to score a touchdown.

“He set the tone for the whole team early,” said head coach Dan Campbell. “That’s how you start, and honestly, when you start a game that way, you go out there on defense, and you get a takeaway, and we turn it into seven points, and then you come out in the third quarter, and your offense takes it all the way down for a touchdown, that’s how you get a start. The defense played well, and they showed up. They were 3-12 on third down. That’s good stuff.”

Their defense forced Jacksonville to finish 3-12 on third down. As the day started with the top two defenders taken in the 2022 NFL Draft class, former Michigan Wolverines edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson made his presence felt.

Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) plays during the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Hutchinson recorded a half sack Sunday (Dec. 4), bringing his total to six on the season, which is the fifth most by a Lions rookie. With his performance, Hutchinson is also the first NFL defensive lineman to record at least six sacks and two interceptions in a season since Julius Peppers and Jared Allen in the 2010 season for their respective teams.

Read: Fiesta, Fiesta: Michigan football caps off Big Ten play in historical fashion

Offense

The Lions’ offense followed the tone set by the defense and had quarterback Jared Goff striking while the iron was hot. Goff finished the day 31-41 for 340 passing yards and two touchdowns.

While under center, Goff orchestrated a masterpiece as the Lions compiled 31 first downs. They went 8-12 on third downs and 4-4 in the money zone while racking up 437 yards of total offense.

Detroit scored on their first five drives in the first half to take a 23-3 lead, and they opened the third quarter scoring on their first three drives to put the game out of reach.

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) is pressured by Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Foyesade Oluokun (23) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Amon-Ra St. Brown

Goff targeted Amon-Ra St. Brown all day which he should have as the sun god couldn’t be stopped. St. Brown snagged 11-12 receptions for 114 receiving yards and two touchdowns, bringing his season total to 76 receptions for 830 yards and six touchdowns.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 04: Amon-Ra St. Brown #14 of the Detroit Lions celebrates after a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field on December 04, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) (2022 Getty Images)

Jameson Williams, the Lions’ No. 12 pick in the 2022 draft, made his limited NFL debut Sunday, but it was a light day as he was getting his feet wet for the future of the franchise.

Running backs

Sunday was ho-hum for Jamaal Williams as he tallied another rushing touchdown for his 14th of the season, placing him just two behind Barry Sanders.

But the talk of the town was the return of D’Andre Swift, who looked like his old explosive self. Swift led the Lions in touches with 18, rushing 14 times for 62 yards and a rushing touchdown (sixth of the season) and catching four passes for 49 yards.

Through three seasons with Detroit, Swift has a combined 23 touchdowns, which is tied for the fifth most in Lions’ history.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 04: D'Andre Swift #32 of the Detroit Lions carries the ball for a touchdown during the third quarter of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field on December 04, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) (2022 Getty Images)

Look for the Lions to keep building victories as they’ll play host to the Minnesota Vikings in week 14. Kickoff is 1 p.m. at Ford Field.


About the Author:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.